Privacy bodies investigate Google's data protection standards

By EDRi · April 25, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

Even though Google recently announced the reduction to 18 – 24 months of the
retention time for data related to users and their searches, its privacy
practices are discussed by the Article 29 Working Group and could be
investigated by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The Norwegian Data Protection Group has already sent a letter to the major
search engine with concerns over several data protection issues, especially
on data retention. A second letter is expected to come from the
European Commission on behalf of the Article 29 Working Party regarding
Google’s compliance with the European data protection legislation. Following
this process, if Google privacy practices are considered in breach of the
European legislation, the company could be fined by the national data
protection authorities.

Google Deputy General Counsel Nicole Wong explained to MarketWatch
that the company “recently announced changes to our logs retention policies
which we believe address these concerns” raised by the Norwegian group’s
letter. “We speak regularly with European regulators, privacy advocates and
users for their feedback as part of a continuous and rigorous review of our
privacy practices.”

Privacy concerns are raised also by the US privacy NGO Electronic Privacy
Information Center along with the Center for Digital Democracy and the U.S.
Public Interest Research Groups that have filed a joint complaint with FTC
asking for an investigation into the potential threat to consumer privacy
posed by Google’s planned acquisition of DoubleClick.

Google announced last week its intention to buy DoubleClick for 3.1 billion
USD, but the privacy experts fear that this “will give one company access to
more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other
company in the world”

The complaint also says that Google, that reaches 75 percent of the
European search market, needs to meet the privacy standards as established
by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Marc Rotenberg, EPIC executive director, explained: “We believe that this
complaint provides an opportunity for (the) FTC to look closely at whether
the online-advertising industry provides adequate privacy protection for
Internet users and (to) consider the privacy impact of non-personally
identifiable information collected through search histories.”

EU privacy body criticizes Google practices (19.04.2007)

Google draws privacy complaint to FTC (20.04.2007)

EPIC Files Complaint With FTC Regarding Google/DoubleClick Merger

EDRI-gram: Google limits the search data retention period (28.03.2007)